There are many differences regarding eligibility requirements and services. For example, students should not assume that accommodations provided in high school will be provided in college. Also, college students are solely responsible for the success of their college career.
504 Plans and IEP's are not considered to be acceptable forms of documentation at the college level, but are useful in understanding prior academic experiences of the student. Testing used to document a disability must be current (usually within three years) and administered by a qualified professional. In order to determine whether a disability is substantially limiting, documentation submitted by a student must meet the documentation criteria deemed adequate by Heartland Community College.
Students should not assume that accommodations provided in high school/other colleges will be provided at Heartland. Accommodations are approved on a case-by-case basis and must be consistent with the College's academic goals and standards. A student's request, documentation, and past educational experiences will all be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate accommodations.
Please be aware that documentation stating that there is a disability does not guarantee accommodations and services. Final determination of appropriate accommodations will be determined by the Disability Support Services Office in accordance with the mandates of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as court and Department of Education/ of Civil Rights rulings related to these two laws.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S. Code, paragraph 12102) defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." "Major life activities are defined as the ability to perform functions such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, or taking care of oneself." The degree of impairment must be significant enough to "substantially limit" one or more major life activities.
Students with disabilities should contact the Disability Support Services office as soon as possible. This will ensure that the student has enough time to get adequate documentation of his/her disability. Accommodations cannot be made for students unless there is adequate documentation on file. All students are encouraged to contact the DSS office at least 4-6 weeks prior to the start of the semester that he/she plans to enroll.
Documentation must be current, be completed by a qualified professional, must explain the "substantial limitations" as a result of the disability, and provide accommodation recommendations. If you are unsure whether your documentation is current, please contact Disability Support Services at (309) 268-8259. Heartland reserves the right to determine the adequacy of submitted documentation. If the documentation does not meet our criteria, the student can be asked to provide more documentation at his/her expense. If you are unsure whether your documentation meets our criteria, it is best to send your documentation to the Director of Disability Support Services as soon as possible. The mailing address is:
Heartland Community College
1500 W. Raab Road
Normal, IL 61761
Attn: Director of Disability Support Services
It is best to have a qualified professional evaluate and document the disability during your student's junior/senior year of high school. If your student has graduated or the high school will not provide the re-evaluation, your student should meet with a qualified professional in your local area. Costs incurred for obtaining appropriate documentation are the responsibility of the student.
Typical accommodations depend on the disability and include, but are not limited to, extended time on tests, alternate (distraction-reduced) testing locations, note takers, and materials in an alternate format. At Heartland, tutoring services are available to all students free of charge.
The DSS staff can help students by discussing what the interferences are and whether possible study or time-management strategies may help. Students can drop-in, make appointments, or email any questions or concerns. The Disability Support Services Office at Heartland does not provide evaluations for verification of disabilities. It is the student’s responsibility to pay the fees associated with getting necessary documentation of their disability. DSS can provide a list of local practitioners who can complete the evaluation.
Heartland Community College does not have academic coaches. However, the academic advisors at Heartland work closely with the DSS office to ensure that students with disabilities receive adequate advisement. In addition, for students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD, there is a new service called BUILD which offers one-on-one support in the form of weekly strategy sessions, grade monitoring and other support as needed. Any student interested in BUILD should contact Disability Support Services.